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Real-Life Mexican Mafia Mama Brokered Drug Sales and Collected Extortion Taxes in California for Imprisoned Boss

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Jul. 25 2023, Published 2:13 p.m. ET

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A California woman, who is described as a secretary for an imprisoned shot caller in the Mexican Mafia, has been found guilty on three felony charges by a federal jury, according to authorities.

On July 24, Kelly Deshannon, 42, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, one count of committing a violent crime in support of racketeering activity (VICAR) and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, according to the United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California.

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At the five-day trial, evidence showed Deshannon served as a secretary to Seferino Gonzalez, an imprisoned shot caller of the Michael Lerma Cell of the Mexican Mafia, officials said.

Authorities said Gonzalez exerted control over Latino gangs from prison, including overseeing drug trafficking and other offenses committed in Pomona.

As a secretary for Gonzalez, Deshannon helped facilitate an attempted armed robbery of car keys to a Mercedes-Benz SUV on July 14, 2013. That incident resulted in the shooting of a victim, officials said.

Deshannon knew the victims’ address, that the victim had access to the car keys and she had spoken to the victims.

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On the night the shooting took place, Deshannon brought the shooter and other defendants with her to the victims’ address and pointed out a victim to her accomplices. The victim was wounded in the shooting, but survived the attack.

Authorities said Deshannon was also brokering drug sales and collecting extortionate taxes in Lerma Cell territory.

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Lerma, who was this case’s lead defendant, was indicted in 2018 and pleaded not guilty to RICO conspiracy and multiple other federal charges. He is in federal custody and his trial was scheduled to begin on July 23, 2024.

Deshannon is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 26, officials said. She is facing 7 to 20 years in federal prison.


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